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Stogie Tips: The Secret Word Is…

15 Oct 2008

Here’s another installment in our on-going efforts to pass along some tips and suggestions to those who are new to cigar smoking.

Slow. While it might not be as famous as the single word of advice in The Graduate—“plastics”—our word is much more important for cigar smokers to remember. Taking your time is important in just about every aspect of enjoying a cigar. Don’t rush the light; burning the tobacco can create harshness from the start. Draw slowly and evenly. If you put the cigar to your lips too often you can overheat it and adversely affect the flavors. Frankly, it’s pretty difficult to smoke too slowly.

Drawback. If you notice a difficult draw, you might try biting down gently on the head. Often this will loosen the tobacco enough to improve the flow of the smoke. Just be careful; you’re not trying to crack an ice cube. A little pressure is all that’s required. Too much and you could crack the wrapper.

Breakout. Sometimes I think I could be happy choosing all my sticks from the powerhouses put out by Pepin Garcia. But then I’ll pick up a tasty mild cigar such as the honey-hued Ybor City Handmade or a delicate Cameroon wrapped Fuente Hemingway and realize the joy of variety. Of course, you should smoke what you like. Just remember, there’s a lot out there and you might like more than you realize.

Name that cigar. Don’t be concerned if you’re having trouble remembering the definitions for all the names of different cigar sizes and shapes. The truth is there’s no standardization. While there are some generally accepted guidelines, manufacturers play fast and loose. For example, a robusto is usually 5 inches long with a 50 ring gauge. But flip through any cigar catalog and you’ll encounter cigar after cigar labeled robusto with different measurements. Heck, sometimes the industry can’t even agree on what the name is. A Rothschild—created in the 1800s and named, as I understand it, for a member of the British banking family that uses this spelling—shows up often without the “s” or ending with an “e” and other variations.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

3 Responses to “Stogie Tips: The Secret Word Is…”

  1. raul Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    Maybe they should create a set of industry rules:

    Robusto means 5 x 50, Churchill 7 x 50, etc…

  2. George E. Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    It might be nice, but I don't think it's likely to happen. Cigar makers seem to be a pretty independent bunch!

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